Archive for the ‘fishing’ Category

Odyssey Driven

September 5, 2020
Returning to Work on Homer’s Odyssey

Tell me, Muse of the man of many devices, driven far astray . .

Saturday in the Studio Eidolons finds me chasing multiple interests. We’ve decided to put together another road odyssey with the change in weather approaching. Sometimes I think we have that inborn compulsion of geese taking flight when weather warnings are in the air. After laying it aside for quite a few months, I’ve re-opened the Greek text of Homer’s Odyssey and am once again immersed in his epic.

Putting a Few Finishing Touches to the Bomber Lure

After only two days, I seem to be nearing completion of the Bomber lure. The background took much more time than rendering the actual subject itself.

I completed a quick watercolor sketch for the first time in a watercolor diary I purchased last week. I plan on taking this sketchbook on my journey soon to see how many pages I can fill as we travel.

5 x 7″ watercolor sketch

The Arlington Gallery that carries my work (Show Me the Monet) has decided to sponsor Watercolor Wednesday, offering 3-hour watercolor classes 2-5:00 every Wednesday. I am scheduled to teach on alternating weeks. I have posted my next two classes, September 16 and 30 on my professional Facebook page. Cost is $55 and classes are limited to six participants. If you are interested in signing up, phone (817) 468-5263. September 16 will focus on painting a railroad boxcar similar to the one above, and on the 30th we’ll paint a wooden trestle located here in Arlington, Texas.

September 16 subject
September 30 subject

The morning is nearly over and I have promised myself more quality time in Studio Eidolons. Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Early Morning Slog

August 11, 2020
Early Morning Reading before Painting

Life belongs not to those who know, but those who discover.

Le Corbusier

My arguments with myself are long and wearisome. They involve theories that are not writable by me at least.

After all this vivid and intense introspection I have determined upon a couse that takes nerve above all, concentration and a long hard fight.

N. C. Wyeth, letter to his mother dated January 25, 1907

The early morning reading over coffee has been so satisfying that I hesitate to lay it aside. But I have commissions to complete and the patrons have been so patient. I owe them a respectable turnaround time. I have set a self-imposed deadline for the weekend, and believe I’ll get these done. Then, I have only three more to complete.

My love for N. C. Wyeth runs down a different track than my sentiments for his more famous son Andrew. The son has had the most profound influence on my subjects and overall technique, but I was never ingratiated by his disdainful remarks about those who spend too much time reading books. Thus, I find most of Andrew’s interviews very unsatisfying, while on the other hand, find myself continually bowled over by N. C.’s letters and papers left behind. N. C. was a lover of Thoreau and Emerson and showed an exquisite literary flourish in his own writings. His allusions to classical music are also refreshing. I grieve over the tragedy of N. C.’s end. He never reached the mark he wished to achieve as a painter, always being tagged as an illustrator. Though he achieved great wealth through his illustrating career, he grew increasingly morose in his final years because he could not make his mark as a free-lance artist, instead watched his son make his mark on history. Of course when I read I am always measuring my own life against the standards of the heroes I follow. I’m extremely happy that as a teacher I was able to earn an income that supported my habit, and now retired, have plenty of time to study and pursue art. Probably years ago I had dreams of being a well-known artist, but certainly found a good measure of sobriety in finding satisfaction merely with having an ability to make art and enjoy it so.

The two commissions that have my attention the rest of this week involve the one above and below. (Above): This is a home the patron wants to remember through an original painting. It is requiring a great measure of paintstaking detail, but I’m finding satisfaction in the process, slow as it may be. (Below): This is my first attempt at painting a trout fly of this size and scale. In past paintings, I have put a sprinkle of flies into still lifes, and the images of the flies have been close to actual size. Now I am called upon to present one in great detail. The process is requiring a number of disciplines I haven’t pursued in awhile, but so far, they all seem to be working out fine.

I suppose it is also time to return to painting fishing lures. I did a number of 5 x 7″ bass lures a few years back. They all sold rather quickly, and now one of them has been published on the cover of a new novel. I just received it in the mail yesterday and am posting a copy of it.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Pursuing the Muse

February 21, 2020

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Watercolor in 8 x 10″ wooden frame–$100

Artistic inspiration has to be carried over a long distance to reach expression, and it may easily shrivel, or even perish on the way from the eye to the paper.

Abraham Heschel, Man is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion

The day’s proposed schedule has been fractured beyond recognition. I awoke a little after five, my head stirring with ideas for painting, and actually hit the studio running. But a number of distractions entered, and though I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do, I feel a good sense of accomplishment as I prepare to enter the weekend.

I decided to frame the coffee cup I sketched in watercolor yesterday, and am happy with the results. I also completed my application for Palestine’s Dogwood Festival coming up late in March–a number of artists will be displaying under a large tent for the VIP party in advance of the actual festival and I slipped in my application just under deadline.

I also have been notified that a book is coming out in June featuring my artwork on its cover. The publisher and I have been in correspondence over this matter for nearly a year and I am excited to learn I will have a copy of this book in hand soon.

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I have a few more paintings in progress now in the hopper and hope to be posting images of them soon.

Thanks for reading.

Shultz reduced

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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Sacred Holiday Solitude

December 20, 2019

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Working on Christmas Plans early in the Morning

When a summer breeze blows through an open window as we sit reading in a rare half-hour of quiet, we might recall one of the hundreds of annunciations painters have given us, reminding us that it is the habit of angels to visit in moments of silent reading.

Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

The week has passed so quickly. Daily I have entered the studio before daylight and worked till dinnertime. I set out a goal to create four Christmas gift watercolors in four days, and thankfully the goal was met. My father doesn’t access the Internet, so I’m confident he won’t see this painting I did for him. The others I will keep concealed till after they’re given at Christmas. I have titled this one “Fishing Rhapsody” and wrote something about it to enclose in a Christmas card:

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“Fishing Rhapsody”

The solitary figure of a fisherman stood beside the river in his overalls and wading boots, cap pulled low, white beard showing in the morning sunlight. Canopies of verdant trees engulfed him as he waited on the pebbled sloping bank, rod held low before him. The golden sun-dappled waters of the river flowed before him as the bright sky reflected a winding path down the center of the channel. Layers of pebbles, flat rocks and bubbles shimmered below the surface of the babbling waters as schools of fish lingered in the shadows. The fisherman continued to stand and survey the waters while the murmurs of the river continued speaking its language from the foundation of time.

The other gifts also have written tributes and I believe I’ll post them on this blog after Christmas.

Though remaining relatively silent on the blog, the week has not been without its sublime moments. Every day I have worked long hours, planning, composing and painting in the studio, but I  have also taken out large blocks of time for reading, reflection and writing. Without those intermittent activities, painting, for me, becomes a mechanical chore and loses its joy. I posted the Thomas Moore quote at the top of this blog, echoing his sentiment about the loveliness of being visited by warm thoughts when reading something worthy and preparing the heart to do something creative.

I came across a passage extolling the values of film, television programs and popular music for stimulating creative eros, and would quickly add that reading quality literature could also be added to the mix:

All that is required to read them spiritually are the practices of hospitality and reverence, the ability to approach them as a religious person might enter a cathedral or temple–open to grace and mystery.

This comment mirrors what I knew long ago while serving in the pastoral ministry. I made it a practice to study the Bible daily, shutting myself off from the public and seeking ways to meditate, to ruminate over the written texts, expecting to receive a divine word. That practice has remained with me despite leaving the ministry in the mid-1980’s, only now I read widely and still meditate over what I encounter when reading texts in a spirit of reverence and expectation. The Greek word logos that we translate “word”, according to Martin Heidegger could be rendered “the gathering together.” For years I have mused over this notion of logos, or logic. I think of order, structure, arrangement, cohesion–the sentiment that life has a way of organizing itself, of coming together, of working out–this notion gives me hope and confidence from one day to the next. And this week has been so affirming to my soul as I have read, written and painted. A number of details in life that are important to me seem to be working out, and for that I am grateful. This has been a satisfying week.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you will check out my blog www.davidtrippart.com.

Shultz reduced

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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Fumbling

December 12, 2019

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Thursday Morning at my Desk

Inspiration is for amateurs. We professionals just go to work in the morning.

Chuck Close, quoted by Christoph Niemann, illustrator on Abstract: The Art of Design (Netflix)

I’m not a big believer in the books and courses that advocate creativity rituals, altar making and mask making to get unstuck and get started. Maybe that stuff works. I don’t know. They just seem like more strategies to avoid getting on with it.

Ian Roberts, Creative Authenticity

Thursday morning has been spent mostly floundering about, since I have reached the rare point in my life of waking to no deadlines or appointments. I posted the college grades yesterday, so the semester has ended, and I find myself without a contract for the spring semester. This is completely new; I have taught college as an adjunct nearly every semester since 1985, and when I retired from my full-time public school career after twenty-eight years, I still had college courses to teach. Now I have nothing in the classroom or online until at least next fall, or perhaps never. Maybe that door has closed. Today I’m trying to absorb that reality. Making art and engaging in scholarly activity are the dual aspects that have defined me for over three decades. The two activities have fed off one another, and have in turn produced a dual life of private solitude balanced with a public forum. The public will still be around with respect to art shows and art workshops. But I now consider the possibility of no longer speaking in a classroom or lecture hall over subjects including art history, philosophy, religion and literature. Oh well, I’m not writing this in sadness, just musing aloud over what’s next.

I have always dreamed of a day like today (fully retired, instead of semi), and now that it has finally arrived, I find myself fumbling. Soon I’ll depart for holiday travels to be with friends and family, but I won’t have a job to return to in January. Strange. The next firm commitment on my calendar is a one-man-show opening in February which now feels years away on the horizon. In the meantime, my new website now has a PayPal component added so patrons can make purchases of my limited editions online. I have wanted that capability for years and am very pleased that the day has finally arrived:

www.davidtrippart.com

The website now includes stories I have written for some of my paintings. I hope you will take the time to read some of them and give me feedback. I’ve been thinking for years about the possibilities of writing and illustrating a book of short stories about an American town.

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New panels prepared alongside works in progress

After a morning of reading and journaling, I rose from my desk and went into the studio to stretch five new watercolor surfaces. I prefer to soak and stretch ninety-pound coldpress watercolor paper over canvas stretchers. No matter how wet they get during my watercolor activity, they always shrink-dry and are nice and flat when complete. Then I remove them for framing and re-use the stretcher bars for future watercolors. I have three new commissions out in front of me, so I have just completed the mindless chore of preparing the surfaces.

Now as for the quotes that open this blog: I have always been a dreamer and have thrived on inspiration for writing and making art. But I find myself laughing when someone writes making fun of rituals designed to inspire creativity. As I have written before, I derive most of my inspiration for art and writing from what I read. Excellent books that I return to again and again include Ian Roberts, Creative Authenticity; Robert Henri, The Art Spirit; David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear; and Ted Orland, The View from the Studio Door. 

But I feel my face turning red when I hear amusing stories such as the one about Keith Richards in the basement, riffing on his guitar and doping, waiting for inspiration, while the Rolling Stones wait impatiently in the studio upstairs. This morning found me pacing around the house, drinking coffee, sitting at my desk scribbling in the journal, turning on the TV to watch “Abstract” on Netflix, arranging my supplies on the drafting table, stretching watercolor paper at the sink, all the time wondering how to launch a day of creative exploits.

I also printed and matted new copies of a watercolor I did a couple of years ago. A patron has just ordered an 8 x 10″ matted copy, so I got that one out of the way. This is a piece I had forgotten about, and thanks to social media, someone in Dallas notified me to find out if it was still available. It is.

bass lure try again

A New Print Ready. 8 x 10″ in 11 x 14″ mat. $25

So. Back to this notion of inspiration, altar building, preparing the artist to create. I would love to hear from anyone your ideas on this. I have dozens of rituals I put in play when I get stuck. And then sometimes I just get out the materials and go to work. Since I’ve always been employed one way or another, I have worked around an appointment calendar to create something. Now, without that structural calendar, I find myself casting about for some notion of how to fill up these unstructured days. This new freedom, I must say, is dizzying. So tell me, how do you go about your creative enterprise? Do you have a system, a structure? Do you have ways to light your creative fires when you are not in the mood to produce anything? I love hearing from other artists, writers and creative spirits. And I love to hear of “starter rituals”. Let me know how you do what you do.

I close with this quote from Abstract Expressionist painter Barnett Newman: “Writers write so they will have something to read; painters paint so they will have something to look at.”

Thanks always for reading.Shultz reduced

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

bass lure try again

 

 

Labor Day Fishing

September 2, 2019

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Canada Geese Keeping Me Company

Time is but the stream I go a–fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. 

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

On this second September morning, I still find the west Texas world comparatively cooler than what I knew during August. I found a shady spot again at a playa around 8:00 this morning, and again found the carp cooperating. I managed to land three of them, and lost two more. After two hours, I decided to call it quits when I caught a channel catfish the size of my hand.

Sitting in the shade in a comfortable lawn chair, I felt gratitude for a world that seemed to slow down where I sat. I chose to leave the national news alone, knowing it would most likely be more of the same–an avalanche of frenetic reporting on the same catastrophes and national embarrassments that I’ve know far too many years now. In the nineteenth century, Thoreau expressed dismay for a country that was living too fast when he was writing his Walden manuscript:

It lives too fast. Men think that it is essential that the Nation have commerce, and export ice, and talk through a telegraph, and ride thirty miles an hour, without a doubt, whether they do or not; but whether we should live like baboons or like men, is a little uncertain.

Today I found comfort in reading an article the theologian Paul Tillich published in The Saturday Evening Post back in 1958. His assessment of the American culture was that we had become a people, driven by an industrial society and recent technological advancements, in a frenzied horizontal direction. We were driven to work harder, faster, and produce more and more. He opined that we had lost our vertical sense of depth and no longer thought about the deeper issues of life that matter.

Robert Pirsig, in his celebrated work Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, wrote that our national conversation, thanks to mass media, had gotten out of control, like a mighty river flooding its banks and running shallow, silting up with debris of no lasting value.

The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated.

William Powers, in his book Hamlet’s Blackberry, warns that we will never achieve depth in our thinking if we are all the time distracted by our smartphones and tablets. Jumping from link to link, like a bird flitting from branch to branch, we find ourselves in a state of perpetual distraction, and never pause to reflect over the better elements of our lives. Two mornings of fishing have helped ease my mind as I’ve felt the stress growing due to a major presentation I am scheduled to make in exactly two weeks. Every day I work on this presentation, but thanks to the last two mornings of quiet fishing, I’ve found myself in a better state of mind and creativity to focus on the task that is coming on very quickly.

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The Carp were Active again this Morning

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Using my Size 13 Boot for Scale

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And then . . . there were the Little Ones

Thanks for reading.

 

September 1 Fishing

September 1, 2019

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One of Six Carp Landed this Morning

That man who does not believe that each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he has yet profaned, has despaired of life, and is pursuing a descending and darkening way. After a partial cessation of his sensuous life, the soul of man, or its organs rather, are reinvigorated each day, and his Genius tries gain what noble life it can make. All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

At 7:30 this morning, though the sun was already bright, Lubbock was cool and breezy, and an inspiration seized me to visit the neighborhood park to try fishing the playa. More than 19,000 of these populate the Texas High Plains, making this region the highest density of playas in North America. Taking a lawn chair and a Stanley of coffee, I set up under a shade tree and tried to figure a way to rig my ultra-light Pflueger combo for carp.

I selected a clear casting bubble purchased recently in Colorado, filled it with water from my bottle, and attached to the snap swivel about 18” of 5x tippet. Baiting a size 12 treble hook with three kernels of corn, I decided to forego a split-shot sinker to see how things worked with the line drifting freely apart from the bubble.

Casting out about six feet from the bank, I took my seat, poured my first cup of coffee and opened Walden to read and feel the timeless words from Thoreau’s spirit. I only managed a couple of sentences before the sound of a large splash jerked my attention to its source, and finding no bubble in sight, I hauled back on my rod and felt something heavy. A few moments later, I landed only the second carp I have ever caught, and it was twice the size of the one I caught about thirty years ago.

His colors were spectacular in the morning sun. Throwing him back in the water, I re-baited and tossed my line again to the same spot. By the time I decided to pack up, five more carp had been landed, and two others broke my line. The largest one landed was by far the most fun, and well worth recording:

20190901_085719332811489966246980.jpgThe Largest of the Morning’s Haul

Casting out about ten feet further from shore, I sat in the shade and by this time decided that I was not going to be able to read from Thoreau. However, after five minutes passed with nothing happening, I poured my second cup of coffee, and as I was sipping it, I noticed a dark speck in the water, about ten feet beyond the bubble. Thinking it was a turtle, I continued watching it slowly moving to one side, then the other, and then the point of a tail broke the surface. Soon the entire tail emerged, and the span of it made my pulse quicken. I had observed “tailing” by redfish before, while fly fishing the Texas Laguna Madre, but at these Lubbock city park waters, I had not seen such activity from the carp. What I had always observed while walking along the shores were the high places of the carps’ backs poking up out of the shallows within a foot of the banks.

As I continued to watch, the tail stayed above the water, and slowly the carp rose nearer the surface till I could see his entire length. Magnificent! Closer and closer he moved toward my bubble as I held my breath. Then he submerged out of sight. At that moment, two large grackles strolled to the water’s edge and stared quietly at my bubble, which now was rotating slowly on it axis. Then it drifted slowly to the right, then back left. For about thirty seconds I continued watching, and then suddenly it was out of sight! It took considerable time to haul this one to shore, as I was uncertain how well the 5x leader would hold.

As the morning continued to unfold, I felt the thrill of a Thoreau-kind-of-a-morning. When the flock of Canada Geese flew over my head and landed on the point in front of me, I welcomed the pleasant company.

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Canada Geese on the Playa

Thoreau felt embraced by the wildlife that surrounded him in Walden woods, and though I was in a west Texas neighborhood, I saw only one human being, walking a dog about the park. Aside from that I only watched and listened to Canada Geese, Grackles, Robins, Mourning Doves and Mallard Ducks in my vicnity. I tried to be a good, quiet neighbor in their midst.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful morning with me.

 

Respite

July 25, 2017

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Our moods do not believe in each other. To-day I am full of thoughts, and can write what I please. I see no reason why I should not have the same thought, the same power of expression, to-morrow. What I write, whilst I write it, seems the most natural thing in the world; but yesterday I saw a dreary vacuity in this direction in which now I see so much; and a month hence, I doubt not, I shall wonder who he was that wrote so many continuous pages. Alas for this infirm faith, this will not strenuous, this vast ebb of a vast flow! I am God in nature; I am a weed by the wall.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

I still remember how liberated I felt back in 1989, when a professor pointed out Emerson’s sensitivity to the natural ebb and flow of the creative lifestyle. From that day forward, I pursued that theme, reading it in the poetry of Walt Whitman and the interviews of a number of twentieth-century painters. Long ago, while in the ministry, I knew that parishioners were deceiving themselves if they thought they could live in a state of perpetual revival. Mountains require valleys. In my years of teaching, the topic continually came up–how can one sustain a high level of creativity? In my opinion, one cannot. Life moves in circles. We require intake if we are to output. We must inhale in order to exhale. We must rest in order to exert. The ocean ebbs and flows. These rhythms are natural and inevitable.

I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly tried to cheat the natural order. Today on the radio, I listened to discussions of people taking amphetamines in order to sustain creative exploits for up to 72 hours without sleep. I have always been alarmed at that thought. In my years as a graduate student, I recall drinking coffee and swallowing No-Doz tablets in order to stay up an entire night typing a paper to meet a deadline. But I believe I always returned to my bed the following evening. I never thought it possible to sustain beyond that.

As to the rhythm of creative eros and stagnation, I truly believe that physical rest is a factor. So why am I writing this now? Because I’m exhausted–sleep deprived, heat exhausted and travel weary. But . . . my air conditioner at home was finally repaired this afternoon.  So, I sit in this Barnes & Noble Cafe, waiting for the house to cool (it was 91 degrees inside today) so I can get home and experience some quality sleep. Soon I’ll travel to the Colorado Rockies, and I just want to get my physical and spiritual self back on a good track before I begin the new trek.

Above, I have  posted the watercolor that I began yesterday, and completed this morning. It is now in transit to its new home out east, and I’m delighted that the patron is happy with it (glad also to have the job finished before making my next journey).

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when feeling alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Grinding it Out

July 24, 2017

largemouth

This has been an exhausting work day for me in The Gallery at Redlands. I have a commission to complete and have had difficulty painting because of a broken A/C at home. Painting on the road doesn’t come easily for me. Several friends have stopped by the gallery whom I haven’t seen in weeks and it was good to catch up on the local news and make a couple of trips out of the shop to photograph some historic sites in the Palestine vicinity. But all the while, though, I knew I needed to get this 11 x 14″ painting started and nearly finished.  I stopped repeatedly throughout the day, taking refresher breaks so as not to experience fatigue-driven mistakes. Finally, at 7:15 tonight, I realized that this composition is finally taking shape and I believe is going to turn out alright. It needs to be scanned and processed no later than tomorrow to satisfy a deadline I promised.

Thanks for reading.  It’s quiet here, and I just wanted to share this.

Thoughts Between the Rivers

June 27, 2017

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There are two things in painting: the eye and the brain, and they have to help each other; you have to work on their mutual development, but painter-fashion; the eye, for the vision of nature; the brain, for the logic of organized sensations which give the means of expression.
Paul Cezanne

I thought on this day I would be on Day Three of our planned river excursion.  However, a few difficulties ensued, and we decided to abort and begin a modified plan on Thursday. Wayne had some difficulties with the supply boat and its stability in the swifter currents, and I–I had difficulties keeping my kayak upright. We did manage to get in some quality fishing time, however.  But as nightfall drew nearer and the currents more difficult, we decided it safer (for me) and more expedient (for the packing supplies) to call off the odyssey and plan a new one.  On Thursday, we should be joined by Mark, and I’ll trade my kayak for the canoe I rode last summer.  Most likely, we will paddle and fish throughout the day, set up camp for the night, then decide on Day Two if we’ve had enough fun.

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Wayne Fishing Big River

Today I join Wayne and his grandson for some lake fishing (and I’ll stay on the shore this time) and I anticipate a scenario resembling more of a fishing team than Laurel and Hardy.

Yesterday, after drying out my sleeping bag, tent, and tarp, and going to a coin laundry to wash all my river-soaked clothes, I settled back into a watercolor I started two days ago.

train

I have a large project before me involving trains, and should be posting many more watercolor renderings in the weeks ahead. While working on this one, I kept Cezanne’s ideas in my head, constantly adjusting my eye to my brain. I’m working from a quality photograph, so I should be able to put the necessary details in place.  However, the picture composition leaves much to be desired, and I hope I’ll be able to factor in some quality composition decisions.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.